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Lior Lev Sercarz
1 1/4 cups matzo meal
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 tablespoon nigella
1 large egg
1/4 pound ground chicken
1/8 teaspoon ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon orgeat (almond syrup), or 1 drop almond extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil or rendered chicken schmaltz
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch matchsticks
2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch matchsticks
2 1/2 tablespoons Calvados (apple brandy)
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, for serving
2 teaspoons nigella, for garnish
For the Stuffed Matzo Balls
In a medium bowl, combine the matzo meal, oil, salt, pepper, and nigella seeds. Add 1 cup boiling water and mix well to incorporate. Add the egg, incorporating quickly to avoid partially cooking it. Using wet hands, form the dough into 12 equal-size disks and reserve.
In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, fennel, orgeat or almond extract, salt, and pepper. Using wet hands, form the mixture into 12 equal-size balls. Place a ball of filling on a matzo-meal disk and pinch and roll the edges together to form a ball. Repeat with remaining filling and matzo-meal disks.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently add the stuffed matzo balls, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until matzo balls are cooked through and float, 20 to 25 minutes.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the apples and sauté until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the Calvados and stir, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan, until most of the Calvados has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove apples from pan and reserve.
In a pot, heat the broth until just simmering. Divide the apples among four soup bowls, then ladle broth and matzo balls into each bowl. Garnish with nigella seeds before serving.
Food photo © Linda Pugliese, Food styling by Anna Hampton